Sunday, October 25, 2009

I heart Paula

In honor of National Dessert Month (October) I thought I'd share a great recipe. It's no secret, I love Paula Deen. I love how every single recipe starts and ends with a stick of butter. I've never seen a chef so BLATANTLY disregard health, calories and nutrition for taste. It's fantastic! I'm not joking--my mouth waters every time I watch her show.

On a side note, would it be inappropriate for me to invite Paula to stay with us for a weekend? Just a weekend. That's it. Ya know, time enough for 2 of her breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners and a shit load of snacks and desserts. We're great company. We'll make her laugh. She can call it "work" and bring her camera crew--I'm cool with that. Please? Pretty please? Pretty, pretty please with pecans, orange zest, shaved chocolate and powdered sugar on top?

Since that'll NEVER happen, I'll just have to settle for making her meals three, maybe four times a year. Honestly, could anyone even handle more than that? Think about her husband and his poor, defenseless cholesterol levels......lucky bastard!

Here we go ya'll.....Slow Berry Cobbler. Super easy (unless putting things in a bowl and walking away is difficult for some of you) and SUPER YUMMY but you must have a slow cooker.

1 10 oz. bag frozen strawberries
1 10 oz. bag frozen blueberries
1 10 oz. bag frozen raspberries
1/3-2/3 cup sugar, depending on your sweetness level (GO WITH 2/3 CUP, OTHERWISE IT'LL BE TOO TART)
1/2 cup baking mix

2 1/4 cups baking mix
1/4 cup of sugar , plus another 1/4 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter and milk with a wooden spoon. With your hands, drop bits of dough on top of the fruit in the slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the dough and place the lid on the slow cooker. Turn the power onto high and slow cook for 3 to 4 hours until the topping has puffed and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream or both.

Click here if you want to watch Paula make this dish:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leaves, Pumpkins and Scarecrows--Oh my!

I love fall! I mean, if I could bundle fall up and keep it in my pocket all year long, I would. It's so beautiful around here. So beautiful, that I find myself driving around a little bit longer just so that we can witness this beauty as much as possible. To celebrate this season we got together with some great friends and headed off to the Children's Farm down the street.

Bella and Lili smilin' pretty for the camera

And then there's Mia, who's still trying to understand the concept of smiling. In the meantime, this frown is Mia's "go-to" look whenever a camera is on her.

The girls spent the afternoon watching, brushing and laughing at various farm animals. They had a ball whereas I felt the need to shower in antibacterial lotion the entire time.

After having fun with the barn animals we hopped on a hayride bound for the pumpkin patch. Sometime between the hayride and the pumpkin patch the temperature dropped like ten degrees. So, the first pumpkin we spotted was the one we took home. Okay I lied. It was the second pumpkin we chose. The first pumpkin rolled down the hill and ran over Mia. She didn't like that one.

Here's Mia, not convincingly, attempting a smile

We all had a great afternoon--which was followed by an amazing four course dinner, thanks to Eugene. Man my husband can cook! Tiffany and Chad, thanks for an awesome family outing, it was a perfect day.

So I promised the girls we would make a scarecrow for our yard. Mistake #1. Never promise a 3 year old. They ALWAYS remember.

After stuffing an old pair of pants and a stretched out Old Navy thermal shirt (I swear all of their clothes are made out of tissue paper--awful) we threw a tattered hawaiian shirt over our scarecrow and buttoned her up. I say "her" because Bella named her Stiffanie. Hubbawuzza? Stiffanie? I said to Bella "you meant to say Stephanie, right?" "Nope. Stiffanie" said Bella. I asked again, "then you must have meant to say Tiffany, right?" "Nope. STIFFANIE" argued Bella.

I chuckled under my breath cuz, really?, that's the worst name ever! But, whatev, I'll go with it. Trying my best to get this godforsaken scarecrow completed-- Bella, Mia and I drew a face on an old tshirt and stuffed it too. Voila, we had our Stiffanie. We took her outside complete with a clown wig and a homemade tutu (because that's what the 3 year old boss wanted) and made her comfortable. Please take note of how cute her face looks--the scarecrow, not Mia. But kudos to you Mia for actually smiling.

Since the girls were in such a good mood, Eugene took the liberty of snapping away. I laugh at these photos because you can tell the type of "back and forth" interaction that goes on between the two of them. It's hilarious.

Somebody please get this girl a drink--she's way too serious!!!


Mistake #2 (which if you recall followed mistake #1 which was promising to make the damn scarecrow in the first place) was using WASHABLE MARKERS to draw Stiffanie's face. WASHABLE--what kind of idiot uses WASHABLE markers to make a scarecrow? This idiot does!

And then it rained.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

R.I.P. Daria

To understand the beauty of her life, you need to know where she came from. So before I begin, please take a moment to read a little bit about her from a previous post. It's what she would have wanted. Here's her story DARIA

Oh, who am I kidding. Let's cut to the chase. Daria is dead. I probably killed her. Not intentionally, mind you. But, all fingers can most likely be pointed at me. Do you know how hard it is to keep a tadpole alive for 7 months? No, wait a minute, don't blame me. Blame her. Yes, blame her. She had her chance to become a frog and hop herself out of the hell hole we provided for her--but did she? No. Daria never grew any legs. Never grew any odd little arms. Never grew anything. When we purchased her I was told that she would start morphing into a frog in the beginning of June. Perfect. A month long project where we can watch her daily growth--how educational! But June came and went. So did July, August and September. I mean I had someone feed her while we were on vacation- that's the kind of tadpole parents we were!

Feeling really guilty that Daria had been stuck in her situation for so long, I went to the pet shop and inquired about my options. When I saw the look on their face when I told her that she never showed any signs of frogness I knew the answer wasn't good. Apparently, (and it's very rare) some tadpoles just skip the changing process for a season. I should probably mention that tadpoles transform into frogs in accordance to the seasons, which is why they all change in late spring or early summer. I stared at them blankly and then desperately wimpered "you mean we have to wait 8 more months?" They both nodded their heads and added "there are some instances where they never change at all."

This wasn't good news. I started thinking the best option would be to ask the pet store if they could keep her for the next 8 months and when spring rolls around again we can take her back or buy another one. It's a win-win situation, right? We didn't even bother to provide Daria with oxygen--a fish tank with a pump would be like the lap of luxury for her. Think about it, she'd meet other tadpoles, work through her "issues." It would be perfect. Oh but wait. That would mean I'd have to explain to my child why I'm an unfit mother because I'm tired of looking at and smelling this thing in my kitchen EVERY SINGLE DAY. Trying to brush off visions of snuffing the tadpole with a little tiny pillow, I let it go and procrastinated the situation even more.

Until last week. It was like every morning, one eye opened dragging myself to the kitchen to get breakfast started while two little girls dance and flutter at my feet. Literally, they dance and flutter. After pouring a cup of coffee, toasting some waffles, filling the sippy cups, I went to feed Daria and

Daria was gone.

What the hell? How could a rather large tadpole, be gone? I looked everywhere--no signs of Daria. Bella realized that something was wrong and started asking me where Daria was. Now if anyone really knows me, they know that I'm a horrible multi-tasker, so this insistent questioning from Bella while I'm knee deep in search for Daria was more than I could handle. I had no idea what to say to her because I had no idea where she was! Eugene was out of town, so I knew that he wouldn't have any answers. My dad. Yes, call my dad. The loyal family petkeeper will have some answers. I frantically called my dad and simultaneously checked the utensil drawer. Really, Gina, you thought Daria was going to swim to the forks-you idiot.

And my dad told me the news--he found Daria dead the night before and didn't want to tell me around the girls. I watched as Bella stared right at me, intently listening and decoding our conversation. I didn't know what to say. I totally panicked. There was no way I was going to have a half asleep discussion about death with Bella, now. Like a deer in the headlights I spouted out the first idiotic thing that came to my head, "oh, so she got up and walked out the door." Instinctively I slapped my forehead the moment I heard those words come out of my mouth. Yes, I'm a jackass.

I hung up the phone and knew that I couldn't run with this story. I knew I had to tell the truth. Well, not the whole truth. I looked at Bella and said to her, "Daria is gone Bella."

Because Bella needs personal verification for everything these days, she ran to the bathroom to get her step so that she could see for herself. She stared into the terrareum and after awhile said, "Yep. She's gone."

Pfew. That was easier than I thought it would be. And then she looked at me and said, "maybe Daria grew her legs, became Danny and walked to the house of a different family."

I thought that observation deserved a hug.

March 30, 2009-October 4, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Comfort Zone

I finally feel like I have a grasp on our new routine these days. Summer is long gone and our new fall schedule has found its comfort zone. Bella loves her preschool. So far she has milked a goat, cut some wool from a sheep, rode a pony, made some friends and took the cutest school pictures ever! While Bella is off playing junior farmer, Mia is getting SHOWERED in personal attention. We call it Mommy-Mia time and she loves it. Every Tuesday and Thursday we do something a little different. Here's some highlights:

One good thing about school reopening--the park is ALWAYS empty. Score for us.

Enjoying some quiet time, coloring, at our local library.

Learning about pumpkins.

Singing her ABC's.

I recently joined a gym and I love it. About 4 times a week me and the girls head out to the "safari playground." You see, the gym that I joined has a really great kids program accompanied by a really cute kids room, which I'm sure is chalk full of really adorable germs. It looks like a big jungle. My kids actually think I'm doing them a favor by bringing them there. Hah! I love reverse psychology.

I haven't gone crazy with the workouts because I don't want to burn out too fast and give up, so 45 minutes on the eliptical is perfect. I end up burning about 450 calories--and that suits me just fine. Although, yesterday I wasn't too pleased with the provided entertainment. Just as I started my workout I looked up at the TV monitors overhead. On my left was Hannah Montana, lip syncing her misery and to my right was Paula Deen deep frying a stick of butter. TOTAL TORTURE!

While I'm very proud of my new exercise regime I find that I'm thoroughly wiped at about 7:30PM, which means we're continually trying new ways to get the girls just as tired as we are.

Like letting them tap themselves silly until they're legs are too wobbly to even walk.

Or nights when we're really desperate we let them run around the virtual block. Wii think it's a great idea! Hee. Hee.

And when all else fails, we put em' on our shoulders and bounce. Works like a charm.


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